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Benefits of Immigration in the United States of America

December 15, 2010

Many people come from all over the world to the United States of America, or “the land of opportunity,” in search of a host of things. Some people come seeking to escape the oppression and destitution of their homelands, to pursue religious freedoms, gain riches or, simply, to improve their quality of life. According to the Census Bureau, as of 2006, the United States accepts more immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the world combined (Friedman). Americans achieve great opportunity and diversity by encouraging immigrants to obtain legal citizenship. Immigrants bring immeasurable gains as a workforce of tax-paying individuals that provide the country with needed skills and labor. The issue remains a “hot button” topic as immigration debates heat up. Many Americans have found themselves wondering if we should open the borders, close them, restrict them, etc. The answers aren’t always easy as we are dealing, not with animals or inanimate objects, but living and breathing individuals with a dream.

Other than sharing with the American melting pot their art and cultural traditions, immigrants also provide a host of other benefits to the country. Many immigrants that gain citizenship go on to join the ranks of the United States Military Forces. Many provide skills and talents in countless academic and public service areas. Some even go to on to join the millions of entrepreneurial Americans in the Small Business sector. Although many migrate for personal gain, in a mutually beneficial effort, there are those who “recruit” people from poor nations in order to bring their skills to the United States in exchange for greater pay and other benefits. This concept is known as “Brain Drain” and “Brain Gain.”

Detractors of immigration may argue that promoting immigration attracts illegal immigrants that absorb valuable social services that may be needed for American citizens. They would also have one to believe that immigrants bring disease and overpopulation into the country. One common belief is that immigrants take jobs away from Americans and depress wages. While those issues deserve some examination, one doesn’t have to look far to see the error in this line of thinking.

Many illegal immigrants also work in the United States illegally and, as such, do not pay the taxes that would normally support social amenities such as emergency services, hospital aid and many other services that provide care to American citizens to improve the quality of our lives. It angers many that social services are often tied up when needed as police officers and ambulances race for neighborhoods that harbor illegal immigrants where there is often more crime. American laws prevent the immigration of people who have committed certain crimes. There are also many policies in place to screen would-be citizens for disease and other contagious afflictions. To further counteract these unfortunate issues, we should continue to promote policies that protect our borders but also make it possible for immigrants to gain legal citizenship where they will become tax-paying individuals.

Overpopulation and job snatching implies that Americans compete directly with immigrants for certain jobs while statistics paint a different picture.
In a country with a flexible labor market, where wages adjust freely, the extra supply of immigrant labour would temporarily drive down the wages of local workers until employers had created extra jobs for the immigrants to fill. Soon, though, the economy would adapt to the increased labour supply and the increased demand for goods and services: companies would invest in extra capacity and all the workers-immigrants and natives- would find jobs at the previously prevailing wages. (Legrain)

Insofar as overpopulation goes, there is a major concern over illegal immigrants squeezing in at the rate of legal immigrants. There is also a concern regarding the resources, both natural and synthetic, that it will take to house new citizens. Tim Bolin of the University of California offers his assertion on how the influx of immigrants are a positive thing:
An increasing population means an even larger market. A larger market, in turn: encourages larger production facilities that are likely to be more efficient than smaller ones; allows increased division of labor and specialization of production; supports a wider range of products and services; makes possible major social investments (e.g., hydroelectric dams, public transportation, roads and railways, etc.) that might otherwise be unprofitable; and provides new interactions among companies and workers, which may result in innovation, and new products, and/or services that might otherwise not be introduced. (Bolin)

According to Webster’s Dictionary, Brain Drain is described as “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions (Brain Drain – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary).” Not all immigrants are poor, education-less and looking for a handout as some may suggest. Many are simply searching for a place to call home with pay that reflects their level of education and skillsets that they have attained in their countries of origin.

Americans should buff up the immigration policy to provide citizenship to qualifying individuals and enforce appropriate consequences to better deal with illegal immigration, effectively maintaining our nation as a progressive and diverse world leader. Immigrants are coming to this nation in droves and we need to stop the infighting and elect policies that will facilitate improving our relationships with immigrants and immigration policies and weeding out those whom have come illegally. As the trend of immigration shows no signs of slowing down, our policies must be streamlined for efficiency.

There are those who would see the immigrants get herded onto busses and boats and sent back to their country of origin; however, that is not the America that our forefathers envisioned. American was always meant to be an exercise in democracy, religious freedom and other civil liberties. It was a melting pot almost from the very start. It is that uniformity and resolve that has made us leaders on many platforms and a template for freedom and democracy throughout the globe.

By focusing our efforts, we can also take a look at other challenges that the nation faces as a result of immigration. By implementing and carrying out public policy to remove illegal immigrants and to promote legal transitions, we will ensure the availability of social services to taxpaying citizens and employment will increase. Many people say that illegal immigrants do the jobs that American don’t want to, but I disagree. I believe illegal immigrants do that jobs that employers hire them for. It is more beneficial for an employer to pay illegal immigrants tax-free and inferior wages, than it is for them to hire American citizens.

Works Cited
“U.S. Population To Reach 300 Million This Month.” America – Engaging the World – America.gov. 03 Oct. 2006. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. .

“Brain Drain – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. .
Legrain, Philippe. Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007. Print.
Bolin, Tim. (2006). The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration. UC Berkeley: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Retrieved from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/0xr4267w

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